Amy Winehouse, troubled singer of the great 'Back to Black' album and the now eerily prescient hit single Rehab, found dead in her London flat today at 4pm local time.
It's been years in the making. We kind of saw it coming, and one should grieve at the loss of a unique talent. But Winehouse didn't love herself it seemed, didn't pity herself, didn't feel any gratitude for the immense gift God in his arbitrariness, gave to her.
I'm reminded of what George Michael, himself a troubled survivor, once said in a public plea to Winehouse: "This is the best female vocalist I've heard in my entire career and one of the best writers, so all I can say is, 'Please, please understand how brilliant you are'."
It was all for nought, including the efforts of that Daddy she immortalised in 'Rehab'. The single electrified everyone when it came out, young and old, white and black. I saw black teenagers in London using their pocket money to buy the 'Back to Black' CD. They turned away, at least for a while, from formulaic American RnB and Hip-Hop and all those saccharin, manufactured UK boy and girl bands to nod along to Winehouse's You Know I'm No Good and Love Is A Losing Game - and saying, 'Wow, this is real music!'
They told one another about her, like some great new religion the light of which you must see. But those teenagers, impressionable though they were, saw the singer's life splashed in the papers daily and quickly grew embarrassed, knowing they had better not be like her. For how do you adulate a train wreck?
Rehab was her most memorable song of all, even if the lyrics proved to be too frighteningly true. Her demons required her to "always keep a bottle near". And as the singer sank into an ever darkening abyss, all who had seen in her the birth of a new Billie Holiday, learned to turn away from the horrific vision. Pity.
The behatted character in the video below is Blake Fielder-Civil, the addict with whom Amy Winehouse embarked on an all too destructive marriage, and the inspiration for much of the angst-ridden material in Back to Black.
Once more with feeling, join the over 7 million people who've viewed 'Rehab' on YouTube - and let's hope Ms Winehouse finds peace, finally.
Obituary: BBC, The Guardian, The Telegraph
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